Causes of Traffic Collisions in Mississippi

Out-of-focus nighttime traffic in Jackson, MS

Millions of people are injured and tens of thousands are killed in car accidents every year across the United States. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that more than 35,000 people died in car accidents in one recent year, and 2,443,000 people were injured.

Car accident statistics show there is a wide range of potential causes for crashes. No matter the cause of your crash, if you believe someone else was to blame, you need to speak with a knowledgeable car accident attorney.

The skilled car accident lawyers at Derek L. Hall, PC, can investigate your crash to determine the cause and identify all the responsible parties. We will fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.

Schedule your free initial consultation today to get started.

Top Causes of Car Accidents in Mississippi

In one recent year, there were about 26 motor vehicle deaths per 100,000 people in Mississippi, according to the news organization Mississippi Today. That was the highest rate of traffic deaths per capita nationwide. It is more than twice the national average of around 13 deaths per 100,000 people. It’s more than five times higher than the lowest death rate for any region in the U.S. (Washington, D.C., reported about five deaths per 100,000 people, giving that area the lowest motor vehicle fatality rate.)

Furthermore, Mississippi has often led the U.S. in traffic fatalities. In fact, Mississippi has recorded the most motor vehicle deaths nationwide every year since 1999, with the exception of three years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 14,786 people died in car accidents in Mississippi between 1999 and 2016.

Just looking at the top-line figures does not give you much information on what is causing these accidents and traffic fatalities, though. Here are the top causes of car accidents in Mississippi:

Traffic Collisions Due to Human Error

By far, the vast majority of car accidents are caused by human error. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 94 percent of all serious crashes are linked to poor choices made by individuals. Here are some of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents related to human error:

  • Drunk driving/driving under the influence of drugs: Drunk driving and driving under the influence of drugs are major issues in Mississippi. The Mississippi Department of Transportation reports that in one recent year, drunk driving deaths accounted for 18 percent of all traffic deaths in the state. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility also notes there were 128 drunk driving deaths in Mississippi that year. While statistics on impaired driving accidents are hard to come by at the state level, 20 percent of nighttime weekend drivers nationally tested positive for drugs, according to one NHTSA roadside survey.
  • Distracted driving: Texting while driving, making a phone call while driving, adjusting the music, talking to passengers, and eating or drinking while driving can all be dangerous distractions. At 55 mph, taking your eyes off the road for 5 seconds is enough time for your car to cover the length of a football field. That’s easily enough time for an accident to occur. Distracted driving is common in Mississippi. The state Department of Health says that 75 percent of adult drivers admit to making a call while driving. About one-third of current adult drivers said they had read, written, or sent a text while driving. Nationwide, 21 percent of drivers age 15 to 19 who were involved in fatal crashes were distracted by a cellphone when the crash occurred.
  • Speeding: Speed limits are set and posted for a reason. Sudden emergencies can happen at any time on the road, and drivers need enough time and space to react accordingly. But if you’re going too fast, you may not have enough time to avoid a hazard in the roadway, or you may not even see it before impact. The Mississippi Office of Highway Safety reports that there was an average of 103 speeding-related deaths every year during one recent five-year stretch.
  • Aggressive driving: Unsafe lane changes, tailgating, running a red light or stop sign, failing to use turn signals, and other aggressive driving behaviors can put others on the road at serious risk. Unfortunately, many motorists engage in these behaviors, leading to crashes. Depending on how the term is defined, aggressive driving may be to blame for up to 50 percent of car accidents nationwide. Running red lights or blowing through stop signs is a major cause of car accidents, as 40 percent of all auto accidents happen at intersections, according to the NHTSA.
  • Driving while fatigued: People who are driving while fatigued can miss hazards they might have otherwise noticed. In other cases, they may fall asleep at the wheel and drift into another lane or off the road entirely. NHTSA data show that 795 people died due to drowsy driving accidents across the U.S. in one recent year.

Traffic Collisions Due to Mechanical Error

Motor vehicles rely on thousands of moving parts to operate smoothly. If some of these parts break or otherwise fail, they can cause an accident. There are dozens of recalls issued every year for a wide range of safety issues.

Some of the parts that can cause an accident if they fail, include:

  • Brakes: While brake failures are much less common than they used to be because of new designs and regulatory changes, they can still happen, especially in older vehicles. Brake failure makes it difficult if not impossible for a driver to safely stop the vehicle to avoid an accident.
  • Tires: Tire blowouts can happen suddenly, making it difficult to maintain control over the vehicle. Under-inflated tires are a common cause of blowouts, as are potholes, debris in the roadway, and improper balancing.
  • Steering system: Power steering systems make vehicles much easier to handle, but a dead battery or other issues can cause the system to fail. If this happens suddenly, an accident may occur if the driver can’t safely steer the vehicle.
  • Suspension: Your suspension system keeps your car properly balanced on all four tires, making it easier to steer the car in a safe and predictable manner. A suspension failure can make it hard to steer the vehicle and may even lead to a rollover crash.

Accidents Due to Poor Road Conditions

Accidents can happen even when the driver is doing everything right and the vehicle is in perfect condition. Often, these accidents happen because of poor road conditions.

Examples of poor road conditions include:

  • Potholes: The sudden jolt from a pothole may cause a car to shift in its lane, or it may cause a tire blowout or some other mechanical error. In either case, the driver can lose control and crash.
  • Bad weather: Snow, rain, ice, and other bad weather can make it hard for cars to maintain a grip on the road. Slick surfaces can cause drivers to slide through an intersection, skid around a turn, or spin out on the road, all of which can lead to an accident.
  • Poor signage: While drivers need to be mindful of their surroundings on the road, proper road signage can help them be aware of upcoming hazards. These hazards include sharp curves, a sudden lane merge, a change in the speed limit, and more. If signs are missing, defaced, or broken, a driver may not get the warning needed in time to avoid an accident.

Contact a Mississippi Car Accident Lawyer Today

No matter what circumstances caused your accident, chances are you are in considerable pain and facing substantial financial losses. The car accident lawyers at Derek L. Hall, PC, can evaluate your case and explain your right to compensation. If another party is liable for your injuries, you could receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, and other damages.

Our law firm has been in business for more than 25 years. In that time, we have helped our clients recover millions of dollars in compensation. Let us help you now. Your initial consultation is free, and you won’t owe us any attorney fees unless we collect compensation on your behalf. Get started today.